Seeing the Bear

I’m a writer, so this latest project of collaborating with my friend Didier Ciambra on the new hotel website has triggered a universe of memories as I toured through 15 years of photos to harvest ones we needed. I keep coming back to one moment that, for me, captures what is most enthralling about this unique place. It’s seeing the bear.   

Every once in a while, one of these huge creatures comes wandering out of nowhere right onto the Rio property. When that happens, your jaw drops and everything else in the world falls away. In this moment, you are intensely present in the universe.

This is the present many of us have strived for in meditation class or the yoga studio. But out here in the woods, all it takes is the unscripted appearance of this wild creature. Not until later will practical questions arise. Where does it sleep? Where in town does something the size of a refrigerator manage to tuck itself away out of sight? For now all you can do is stare in wonder. This present is so very much more alive than usual.

Up in Sequoia National Park, where most of these bears live, you sometimes see groups of people standing on the road by their cars pointing at the mountain, the way UFO witnesses are sometimes seen pointing to the sky. These visitors have come to see the amazing sequoia trees, but now they’re seeing the bear too – more fantastical living proof that giants really do exist.

Do these giant footprints, sunken in solid grey rock belong to ancient creature. A crop of green grass isn't telling.
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